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Posted by: Matt Vella on June 18
Electronic Arts has released the so-called Spore Creature Creator, which allows players to generate infinitely varied 3D critters and interact with them. It’s a tantalizing, obscenely fun preview of the company’s upcoming God-game. Download it here (immediately!) and prepare for your productivity to evaporate almost instantly.
The Creature Creator isn’t so much of a demo or a beta of Spore as it is a major component of the game, ripped from the rest, and released for free. Players can pick from various body parts — stretching, molding, and modifying each — to tweak virtual creatures. Nearly every detail is up for grabs, from how many mouths the critter has to its coloring. (I dubbed this one Mr. Stick; see the video below.) Depending on the character’s shape, the game automatically computes how it moves, sounds, and behaves. My initial impression: nearly endless customization. And fun.
EA’s strategy here is a smart one. This is the best demo for Spore possible. Instead of a same-old, same-old one or two-level taste, the Creature Creator is a fully baked product. The gamelette even allows you to upload videos of your creatures to YouTube as well as create FaceBook-like profiles for them. And, this isn’t the first time EA has previewed a highly anticipated game with a free preview of one component. It did something similar with The Sims 2, its best-selling people simulator, by releasing the game’s character customizing module early.
No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.